Ten quick ways to cut your costs

Cape Town - Many people are reluctant to downgrade, because of what friends, family and neighbours will say.

The reality is that they are struggling too. It is far better to downgrade out of choice than to have a visit from the repossession guys. Think of what the neighbours will say then.

Here are some quick (and sometimes painful) ways to cut costs when you need to:

  1. Sell your second car. Many families cope with only one – or none. Join a lift club or make use of public transport where it is possible (and safe). Vehicle instalments are high, and having that disappear from your debit orders every month could provide huge financial relief.
  2. Move to a new suburb where the rentals are cheaper. Or move in with family and share the costs.
  3. You could also sell your house and move to an area where the house prices are lower. You could move into a smaller home while you are at it. Alternatively you could rent out space in your existing house.
  4. Join a lift club or make use of public transport where it is possible (and safe). You will save hundreds in petrol costs. Travelling to work on your own in the car costs a fortune, especially if you work far away.
  5. As much as everyone wants to give their children the very best schooling, the reality of the situation is that private and some former Model C school fees can be extremely expensive. Do your research and see whether there is a viable alternative.
  6. Identify the things in your life which are not absolute essentials: maybe you can reduce the number of hours the domestic worker is on duty (or do without her altogether), do the gardening yourself, and look at all kinds subscriptions. These are all nice-to-haves, but you can indeed live without them. Cancel gym contracts you don’t use, and make sure you are not overpaying on insurance.
  7. Shop around for a cheaper dentist, plumber, electrician and GP. In well-to-do areas the prices for these services tend to be higher – and not necessarily because their services are better.
  8. Pay up your clothing shop accounts and close them. Just having the account encourages you to spend money you might not have.
  9. Buy appliances (or whatever) second hand. You could save a packet. But ask an expert – you don’t want to buy trouble.
  10. Make do with what you have: re-cover the existing lounge suite instead of buying a new one, have a faded shirt re-dyed, and steam clean the carpets instead of replacing them. In fact, you could sell the stuff you are never going to use again. Someone might pay good money for them.

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